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Monday, Nov 03, 2008

  

Hellgate: London Update Plans

Game Espresso has a letter from the Product Manager for Hellgate: London at HanbitSoft, a self-professed "fellow user that loves to play Hellgate: London." The post confirms recent indications that HanbitSoft now owns the Hellgate IP, and says they are working on a new update "that is to surpass" The Abyss Chronicles, saying this will be available through their website, though it is not clear if this will be free to owners of Hellgate: London "lifetime" subscriptions: "Since acquiring the intellectual property rights, HanbitSoft Inc., the publisher and distributor of Hellgate: London in Asia, has concentrated on the development of Hellgate: London, and has received many inquiries regarding new updates. Our US development studio is currently working on an update that is to surpass 'The Abyss Chronicles.' This game will be available through our Web site. We thank you once again for showing your interest and ask for your continuous support for Hellgate: London, as we hope to bring good news shortly. In the meantime, we will continue developing the world’s best game!" Thanks Gamasutra.

Rumor: THQ Closing Studios?

Kotaku reports THQ may be in the process of shutting down four or five of its development studios, saying Paradigm Entertainment and Juice Games are two of the potential victims of these cuts, referring to their sources for this rumor as simply "sources." The veracity of this report is bolstered by the THQ Studio System Webpage, which now lists 11 studios, while THQ's Wikipedia entry lists 16 studios. The missing entries are Helixe, Locomotive, Mass Media, Paradigm, and Sandblast Games. And although Juice Games is mentioned in the rumor, but is still listed on the THQ website, the Juice Games Wikipedia entry says: "Juice Games is currently based in one office in Warrington, UK, and employs over 40 staff. Over 30 staff were laid off as part of THQ's reorganisational operations on the 3rd November 2008." Edge Online has a story about Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter's new guidance for Activision and THQ, citing "poor execution for the last 18 months" as a reason for slashing expectations for THQ in addition to "recent market contraction."

Rise of the Argonauts Delay

Eurogamer has news from Codemasters, who say that Rise of the Argonauts will miss its planned launch in November, though they still plan on launching Liquid Entertainment's mythology-inspired action/RPG before Christmas. No reason for the delay is supplied. They also report there will be no playable demo for the game, saying they were told dividing the game into a smaller chunks will not do it justice.

Game Hostility Study Follow-ups

Texas A&M Researcher Disputes New Game Violence Study on GamePolitics has a comment from one of the American researchers whose work was part of a new study on game violence mentioned earlier today, refuting the conclusions drawn about the hostility caused by violent games. On another related note, the Entertainment Consumers Association has issued a statement in response:

“For the better part of the past decade we – game consumers, makers, sellers and creators – have been waiting for the results of an unbiased, longitudinal and comprehensive study to be done which will inform us about the potential harmful effects of entertainment products on our children. Unfortunately, with the report published in the latest issue of Pediatrics, we remain wanting,” said Hal Halpin, president of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), the non-profit organization which represents the rights of video and computer gamers. “One of the ways in which our stance is likely very different from others in the discussion on the subject is that the ECA would encourage more and better research on the matter. The problem has been, and apparently continues to be, that the agenda of the researchers supersedes our want and need for inclusiveness of all media… not just games – for the overtly sensationalistic spin that will inevitably be employed – to the exclusion of music and movies. We remain optimistic that longitudinal research that is truly comprehensive, objective and inclusive will be performed and shared, but sadly that day has not yet come.”

Steam Cloud This Week

Steam News has word that the Steam cloud will launch later this week along with the demo for Left 4 Dead, storing user preferences online. Word is: "In this first release, the information stored and accessible through the Steam Cloud includes keyboard, mouse, and gamepad configurations, as well as multiplayer settings such as spraypaint images." No user intervention is required to make use of the cloud, and word is it will "just work," and going forward Cloud support will be free-of-charge to all publishers and developers using Steam, and Cloud support will be added to Valve's back catalog.

Quantum of Solace: The Game Movies

A new "Becoming James Bond" behind-the-scenes video from Quantum of Solace: The Game is now available on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and MyGameTrailers. There's also an "Olga Kulyenko" behind-the-scenes video from the game, which is now available in Europe, and expected tomorrow in North America. This clip can be found on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Need for Speed Undercover Trailer

A new Need for Speed Undercover "Hector" trailer features live footage of Hector describing his adrenaline addiction and gameplay footage of a speeding green "Z" car that's presumably easing his jones. The clip can be found on AtomicGamer, ComputerGames.ro, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Salvation Teaser Trailer

The Salvation Website has a teaser trailer from Black Wing Foundation's upcoming dystopian Source-engine third-person shooter. The clip is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

Mobilization

Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Kivi's Underworld Ships; Demos

Kivi's Underworld has been released for Windows and MacOS, the casual hack-and-slash action/adventure can be purchased directly from Soldak Entertainment, and the purchase comes with an unusual 30-day money-back guarantee. Also, Soldak now serves up playable demos for the Windows and MacOS editions of Kivi's Underworld, offering the chance to sample the game on either platform. Word is: "In the Kivi's Underworld demo, you can play the first 6 adventures, unlock and play 6 of the characters, and see many of the monsters, traps, and items from the full game." The Windows demo is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell. The universal MacOS demo is mirrored on AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky Patch

A new patch for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is now available to update GSC Game World's first-person shooter prequel to version 1.5.07. The patch for the retail edition can be found on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls. The patch for the digitally distributed edition is available on AtomicGamer, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls.

New OpenArena

The OpenArena Website now features a new version 0.8.1 of OpenArena, the freeware multiplayer first-person shooter based on id Software's tech3 (Quake III Arena) GPL source code. Word is: "Windows, Linux, Mac releases are in the same ZIP. Non-Free-ness has been nuked. Also in there is a legacy client for those who prefer 0.7.1 input, as well as 3 new maps." The download is also mirrored on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell.

New Mount & Blade Patch, Trial

A new patch is now available to update Mount & Blade to version 1.011. Word on the update has been appended to this previous forum post, as it is apparently easier to create new versions of the game than new topics on its forums. The new version fixes a compatibility issue for saved games created with 1.0 or 1.003, hence this odd note: "Version 1.011 should be savegame compatible with version 1.003. It is not compatible with save-games created with 1.010." The full version of the game is also playable as a trial version, with player progress limited to level 7. The version 1.011 patch is mirrored on AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, and The Patches Scrolls. The full download is mirrored on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell.

Dante's Inferno Movie Deal

Universal hot for 'Inferno' has word that Universal has nabbed the movie rights to the Dante's Inferno game. This is "an option fee against seven-figure purchase price," suggesting games are even more attractive as movie properties before they are actually created. Word is: "Both the 'Dante's Inferno' game and movie involve a journey through the depths of hell. EA's Jonathan Knight reportedly "will be closely involved in the development of the film," and Kotaku points out Jonathan's LinkedIn Page says he is, "Currently developing and executive producing an original action/adventure franchise for PS3/XBox360 at the EA studio in Redwood Shores."

Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor Announced

THQ Announces Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, a standalone expansion for their World War II real-time strategy game that will be released this spring. Here's the portion of the announcement relating to the content of the game, which is in development internally at Relic: "Featuring three intense campaigns, brand-new multiplayer modes and an innovative “direct-fire” feature that allows even more tactical control during the heat of battle, Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor will immerse players in some of the most historic, tide-turning clashes of World War II."

Mac World of Goo Ships; Demo

The 2D Boy Website has word that the MacOS edition of World of Goo is now complete, and ready for online purchase via their online store. They are also offering a demo of the Mac edition of this physics based puzzle/construction game. Thanks Gamer's Hell.

F.E.A.R. 2 Trailer

The F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin Community Website now offers a new Alma Returns video hoping to inspire a little fear about the upcoming F.E.A.R. sequel. The clip is mirrored on ActionTrip and Gamer's Hell.

Gold - Pyroblazer

Candella Systems and Eipix Entertainment announce that Pyroblazer is gold, and this science fiction racing game will be available for Windows via digital distribution on November 13. Word is: "Set amidst the awe-inspiring locations of New Apeiron, players get the opportunity to race through a multitude of environments using a wide selection of anti-gravity craft known as Blazers. As the players fight their way through the championship, improved Blazers with better speed, handling and superior firepower become available. Players also have the ability to pick up weapon and ammo upgrades during the race, further enhancing their ability to land the killer blow.""

Bill Roper Joins Cryptic Studios

Gamasutra reports that in the wake of the closing of Flagship Studios, Bill Roper has joined Cryptic Studios as design director on Champions Online, Cryptic's upcoming superhero MMORPG. The story quotes Cryptic Studios CEO John Needham saying: "Bill brings a ton of creative energy to the Cryptic office and we’re thrilled to have him join our team. His years of gaming and online experience are huge assets to all of our projects, and Bill will assist us in furthering our studio’s vision to create innovative, exciting MMO gameplay."

Command & Conquer Generals 2 Hints?

Command and Conquer DEN discusses implications of the interview with EALA's Mike Verdu on a special DVD-based edition of Battlecast Primetime included with the Premier Edition of Red Alert 3. The premier edition includes a beta key for an upcoming EA RTS game, which will apparently be revealed sometime next year, and they look at the clues suggesting this will be Command & Conquer Generals 2. Thanks Ant.

Violent Games & Hostility

Washingtonpost.com reports: "Children and teenagers who play violent video games show increased physical aggression months afterward, according to new research that adds another layer of evidence to the continuing debate over the video-game habits of the youngest generation." This is from the journal Pediatrics, bringing together three "longitudinal" studies examining the content of games, "how often they are played and aggressive behaviors later in a school year." The data from studies in Japan and America suggests young people who play video games tend to be more hostile than non-gamers, and they quote the lead author of the new study saying: "We now have conclusive evidence that playing violent video games has harmful effects on children and adolescents."

Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Tech Bits

Mobilization

Metaverse

Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Thanks The Crypt.

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Owie, I feel asleep on the couch last night, and now I have a sharp pain in my neck every time I turn my head to the right. Hopefully this will clear up before people start calling me Igor. What hump?

Humpy Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Links: The 7 Most Impressive (And Depressing) Geek Collections.
Top 10 Greatest Gaming Achievements. Thanks Digg. I've never done one.
Stories: Michigan bowler dies moments after 300 game. Thanks Neatorama.
Media: MadTV Dateline bit of George Lucas as a megalomaniac loser.
Windu vs Palpatine - The way it should've been (8secs).
Darn schools and their slippery hallways!
The Funnies: ActionTrip Comic Strip- A Powerful Weapon.



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